28 October 2017

Kuwait-based cleric asks youths not to study maths, chemistry, zoology

Kuwait-based cleric Arshad Mohsin on Friday exhorted the Muslims to stop studying arithmetic, chemistry and zoology as these subjects taught things against the basic tenets of Islam.

Delivering the Friday special speech at the White House Compound Mosque of the town, he said even nursery rhymes should not be taught to the Muslims as the likes of 'Johny Johny Yes Papa, eating sugar no Papa' polluted impressionable young minds and glorified telling a lie.

Referring to zoology, the cleric said Darwin's 'Theory of Evolution' negated the Islamic concept of the process through which the universe came into being. Anybody who studied Darwin automatically ceases to be a Muslim, he said.

Explaining his opposition to the teaching/learning of chemistry, the cleric said chemical elements like cobalt and titanium derived their nomenclature from idols worshipped in the pre-Islamic era. He said it was part of the larger design to promote idol worship, which is most abhorred by Islam. [The Times of India] Read more

27 October 2017

Muslim students row with Newcastle University intensifies over prayer room changes

The row between Newcastle University and its Muslim students has escalated with another peaceful protest during prayer on Friday.

The Muslim prayer space in the King George VI building has been closed for most of Saturday and Sunday since it re-opened at the start of the new term, preventing students from fulfilling their five daily prayers.

Dozens of Muslim students gathered for an outdoor prayer on Friday to urge the university to abide by its Faith Space Policy, which states that prayer facilities should be open from 7am to 11pm every day of the week.

The space is currently open at those hours during the week but only from 8am to 1pm on Saturdays and not at all on Sundays.

Second-year dentistry student Ghadah Ali, of the Newcastle University Islamic Society , said: “They’re going to restrict our ability to practise our faith. When we got back they said it’s going to open but there are new rules that are going to be in place, with restricted opening hours and it’s practically closed at weekends. [chroniclelive.co.uk] Read more

Headscarf row: German university lecturer 'humiliates' Muslim

Professor Gisela Müller-Brandeck-Bocquet has been accused of "discrimination" after asking everyone at the University of Würzburg lecture to take off their headwear.

The professor argued this should include the Muslim woman, because the lecture hall was a secular space.

But she says she did not insist that the headscarf be removed.

Instead, a university spokesman told BR24 [in German] that Professor Müller-Brandeck-Bocquet had launched into a discussion of equality between men and women, before expressing her personal disapproval.

The spokesman added that she "regrets the excitement and misunderstanding" which arose from her opinion.

Green Youth Würzburg reported [in German] that a number of students walked out in protest and solidarity with the 19-year-old woman, who is of Turkish origin but has not been named.

The students, who were attending a lecture on international relations, cited the right to religious freedom.

"We feel the professor's behaviour was a public humiliation," Green Youth Würzburg committee member Magdalena Bachinger said. "The headscarf is part of an individual religious exercise." [BBC] Read more

Support for face-covering bans drops to 40% outside Quebec, poll suggests

31 per cent say wearing the niqab should be 'discouraged but tolerated' and only 28 per cent say the veils should be 'welcome.

The vast majority of Quebecers support Bill 62, the Quebec government’s ban on wearing face coverings while dispensing or receiving government services, but that support drops to about 40 per cent elsewhere in Canada, an Angus-Reid Institute poll suggests.

While Bill 62 targets face coverings of any kind when dealing with public services, critics have charged it targets Muslim women who wear the niqab, a face veil considered an expression of religious devotion.

The survey question focused on the niqab itself, and nationwide, 40 per cent of respondents replied the veil should be prohibited in government offices. However, support among remaining respondents was mitigated, with 31 per cent saying wearing the veil should be “discouraged but tolerated” and only 28 per cent replying the veils should be “welcome.”

The same question applied to Quebec respondents found 70 per cent in favour of the face veil ban, 23 per cent calling for the veil to be discouraged but tolerated and only eight per cent saying it should be welcome.

The perception of the face covering ban varied from one region to another outside Quebec. Complete prohibition received the most support in Alberta (46 per cent) and Saskatchewan (52 per cent), which were most likely to say niqabs should be “prohibited” at government facilities, while 41 per cent of respondents in Manitoba were the most likely to say they should be “welcome.” [Montreal Gazette] Read more

Council faces Muslim boycott of school meals after banning 'abhorrent' halal beef and lamb from unstunned animals

Thousands of Muslims are expected to boycott school meals in a county after its council became Britain's first to ban halal beef and lamb from unstunned animals.

Some 27 schools across Lancashire serve meat from halal suppliers that do not stun animals before slaughter, including Church of England and Catholic schools.

But the county council's Conservative leader Geoff Driver proposed a ban, calling the practice an 'abhorrent' one that causes animals unnecessary stress and pain.

This week councillors voted 41 for the ban – which excludes poultry - with 24 of them against and 15 abstentions, reported the Lancashire Telegraph.

It raises the prospect of another boycott of halal meat in schools by thousands of Muslim children, following a similar policy being adopted in the area in 2012.

Abdul Qureshi, chairman of Lancashire Council of Mosques, had said last month that Muslims would boycott school meals if the council banned non-stunned meat.

Mr Driver exempted poultry from the ban because stunning chickens may kill them before slaughter and bleeding - therefore clearly breaking Muslim rules.

[TOP RATED COMMENT 2131 votes] well done councils ...well done!!

[2ND 1849] Where are the RSPCA in this affair, their remit is to protect animals from cruelty but their silence is deafening

[3RD 1752] I'm more shocked that this was ever allowed. A nation's mentality is shown by the way it treats animals. There's no place in cruelty and if it can be stopped so it should be.

[4TH 1654] Enough of this. Why does any sector of British society have to bend over backwards for a tiny minority of the population?

[5TH 1498] Oh according to some we don't have a right to tell anyone how they should slaughter animals? I think we do.

[6TH 1373] Good decision

[7TH 1372] The animal-welfare law has already been weakened to allow slaughter by the medieval halal method of throat-cutting. Allowing this to be done to unstunned animals has weakened the law still further. The law is meant to protect animals from unnecessary pain and distress and we must start insisting that it is upheld. [Daily Mail] Read more

26 October 2017

Lancashire council bans unstunned halal school meals

Lancashire County Council made the decision to stop using it in 27 council-run schools at a meeting earlier.

Council leader Geoff Driver described the practice of not stunning animals before slaughtering them as "abhorrent" and "really cruel".

A call for further discussion with Jewish and Muslim groups was rejected.

From December, the schools will only serve stunned halal beef and lamb after councillors voted by 41 to 24 against, with 15 abstentions.

Councillors are going to consult with the county's council of mosques over unstunned chicken as some Muslims are concerned that stunning kills them, the meeting heard.

Councillor Driver said he wanted to show videos of cattle being slaughtered to back his point but thought it would be too "gory".

Labour leader, Councillor Azhar Ali had an amendment rejected to defer the halal meat debate until December to give the council time to discuss plans with Jewish and Muslim groups. [BBC] Read more

Quebec’s niqab ban is a chance for women to embrace Western freedom

Bill 62 was passed last week, in effect denying public services to people in face masks.

While the ban includes all face coverings, this has predictably turned into an Islam versus the West issue. The familiar rivalries have resurfaced. Politicians have condemned the “burka ban”, saying it marginalizes Muslim women.

I see this as an opportunity for those women, whether they are oppressed by their husbands or have themselves chosen to cover up entirely, to embrace the equality the West offers.

The victim narrative assumes that niqabi women will continue to wear face coverings and therefore when they board the bus, or when they go for a hospital checkup, they will insist on staying hidden and consequently be denied service.

Granted, we tend to resist a law we find oppressive. In France, where such laws have been implemented, some women chose to act defiantly and be fined rather than remove face coverings. [Toronto Sun] Read more

Man accused of beating daughter who refused to wear hijab

Gatineau police have charged a man for allegedly beating his teenage daughter over the course of more than a year because she refused to wear a hijab.

The 35-year-old father is facing one count each of assault, assault with a weapon and uttering death threats, police said in a news release Thursday.

In what police described as a case of so-called "honour-based" violence, the father began the series of assaults upon learning his daughter had removed her religious head covering when she left the family home.

Gatineau police said they hope the courage the young girl showed would motivate others to speak out against similar incidents. The release also included some phone numbers for local resources for victims of violence. [CBC/Radio-Canada] Read more

Halal meat row as Lancashire council becomes first to ban unstunned meat from all school meals

Lancashire became the first council to ban unstunned halal meat in school dinners.

After a bitter and impassioned debate which ran on for hours on Thursday afternoon, the Conservative-controlled council voted for the ban.

The campaign was fought between council leader Geoff Driver and part of the the local Muslim community.

In 2012, the council briefly stopped supplying halal meat to local schools over a production issue, but after children boycotted their school dinners, the unstunned meat was reinstated.

The council currently supplies 27 schools across the county with unstunned halal meat. According to research by the National Secular Society, four other local authorities use unstunned meat - Leeds, Bradford, Leicester, and Telford and Wrekin.

Many Muslims will not eat meat from animals which are pre-stunned, as they worry the stunning process could kill the animals, and eating meat from livestock which died before the ceremonial Halal slaughter process is “haram”, or forbidden. [The Telegraph] Read more

Teacher has SIX kids with TWO wives - but admits he loves one partner more than the other

A Birmingham teacher is taking lessons in love – after marrying TWO wives.

The primary school employee has three children with each partner and they all live together under the same roof.

The husband spends alternate nights with each wife – but admitted he loved one more than the other.

And he told BBC WM: “It’s the nature of a woman to only want one husband, but it’s in the nature of a man that he will want more than one wife.”

The teacher, who would not be named, admitted his first wife was upset when he revealed he wanted a second spouse, and asked “Why? What’s wrong with me?”

But he insisted he had done nothing wrong in the eyes of Islam.

“I spend alternate nights, one with each wife, just a room away in the house we share,” he said.

“I have three children with each of my wives and the whole house is shared.”

Asked if he loved one wife more than the other, the husband replied: “You can love someone more than the other, Islam allows for that.”

He spoke after Birmingham Labour MP Jess Phillips criticised a dating website which helps Muslim men find second wives.

Secondwife.com describes itself as a “Muslim polygamy matchmaking service” for “practising Muslims who are seeking marriage and accept polygamy as a lifestyle”. [Birmingham Mail] Read more

25 October 2017

Maassluis swimming pool threatened after Wilders criticism

The Dol-fijn swimming pool in Maassluis had to hire in extra security due to threats received after PVV leader Geert Wilders posted a critical tweet about the pool on Twitter earlier this week. "We owe all this to Geert Wilders", Dol-fijn manager Richard Ritmeester said to newspaper AD.

This commotion started because of an announcement on the Dol-fijn website. The announcement offered swimming lessons to "(immigrant) women" who want to get their A, B, or C swimming diploma in a screened-off place. "Sharia swimming in the Netherlands", Wilders tweeted.

The swimming pool realized that their announcement may create confusion, and adjusted the text. Dol-fijn doesn't only offer swimming lessons in their screened off area to Muslim women, but to women of all nationalities, Ritmeester emphasized. [NL Times] Read more

Behind Quebec’s Ban on Face Coverings, a Debate Over Identity

.... The debate centers on how traditionally white, Catholic and French-speaking Quebec can absorb and respect the religions and cultures of immigrants arriving to the province, while protecting its own identity.

Rejecting multiculturalism, the Quebecois speak instead of “interculturalism” — a concept of protecting both French culture and minority rights. But until now, that concept has never been codified.

The first try came in 2008 by a government commission, which was created to respond to a so-called “accommodation crisis,” when conflicts between members of religious groups and local institutions made regular headline news. One involved the Y.M.C.A. in Montreal, which replaced windows in its exercise room with frosted glass at the request of the synagogue next door so that Orthodox students would not see women exercising.

Run by two well-respected academics, the commission issued 37 recommendations focused on increasing integration, reducing intolerance and secularizing the state. Controversially, it suggested that all state officials in positions of “coercive power” — like police officers and judges — be barred from wearing any religious symbols, and that the large crucifix hanging prominently in the provincial legislative chambers be removed. [The New York Times] Read more

Why These Women Are Graduating In Secret

.... Since the Iranian revolution of 1979, the Baha’i – Iran’s largest religious minority, but one that isn’t recognised as such – have been banned from accessing higher education by the government of the Islamic Republic.

Considered a political sect, and therefore a potential threat to the Republic, Baha’is in Iran have been systematically discriminated against and persecuted in different ways, and their only recourse to university studies is the Baha’i Institute of Higher Education (BIHE), a unique institution founded in 1987 to give young Baha’i the opportunity to study.

“We call BIHE the least known but longest running institution for peaceful resistance,” says Saleem Vaillancourt, one of the executive producers of a new documentary entitled Changing the World, One Wall at a Time, which features actor Mark Ruffalo. The film chronicles Education Is Not A Crime – the world’s largest street art and human rights campaign, which raises awareness about the education apartheid against the Baha’i by the Iranian government. [Refinery29] Read more

Storm over secondwife.com polygamy site for Muslims

It is seen by some women as a technologically convenient way to find a “part-time” husband. But the appeal of secondwife.com is driven by men drawn to the “Muslim polygamy matchmaking” site, as its British founder boasts that it has more than 100,000 users, a quarter of them in the UK.

There have been calls for the website to be shut down for treating women like “ornaments” to be collected. An MP, a Muslim women’s rights campaigner and a prominent Islamic scholar raised concerns yesterday that it was encouraging a practice that can leave women with no legal rights.

It is illegal to be married to more than one person in the UK but bigamy legislation does not cover religious marriages unless they are separately registered under civil law. Islam allows men to take several wives, though only if they “deal justly” with each of them, but a woman may not take more than one husband.

Azad Chaiwala, 34, from Sunderland, founded secondwife.com in 2014 and has claimed that it helps to build “bigger and better families”. A second marriage is more “honourable” than having affairs or using prostitutes, he says, while polygamy is “more in tune with nature” than monogamy. [The Times (£)] Read more

Voters say country is full and support partial Muslim ban

A MAJORITY of Australian voters believe the country is full and almost half support a partial ban on Muslim immigration, a new survey has revealed.

In a blow for official multiculturalism, it found that just over 50 per cent of voters agree that Australia has changed beyond recognition and “sometimes feels like a foreign country”.

The explosive data from the poll, commissioned by The Australian Population Research Institute, has enormous implications for the main political parties as ordinary Australians cope with massive population growth driven by record migrant intakes.

The nation’s population grew by 384,000 in the year to March 2017, with 60 per cent of that due to net overseas migration.

.... On Muslim immigration, 48 per cent supported a partial ban, a quarter opposed a ban and 27 per cent neither supported or opposed it. [Herald Sun] Read more

The House of Saud is still in denial

Something is definitely afoot in Saudi Arabia this time. For decades, the Saud ruling family has followed a policy of promise but never deliver. They make the right noises in an attempt to polish the country’s much-tarnished global image – and yet when it comes down to it, they rarely come up with the goods.

But perhaps this time is different. In an interview with the Guardian, Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman made statements that would make even the most hardened cynic take note. He directly addressed “what happened”, saying that the Iranian revolution triggered copycat religious regimes across the region, and that now it was time to “get rid of it” in Saudi Arabia.

“We are simply reverting to what we followed – a moderate Islam open to the world and all religions. Seventy per cent of Saudis are younger than 30. Honestly, we won’t waste 30 years of our life combating extremist thoughts, we will destroy them now and immediately.”

[TOP RATED COMMENT 655 votes] "The House of Saud is still in denial"

Actually, it's a few miles east of denial.

[2ND 360] I personally don't care what they do in their own borders. I don't ever want to go there. Just stop exporting Wahhabism to the rest of the World.

[3RD 225 ] "It was always frustrating to see the religious police harass and intimidate the public, enforcing the strictest of religious laws while the government scrambled to combat the rise of extremism, failing to make or address the link between the two."

That one slipped past the editor.

I hope they succeed. The SA policy of exporting it's brand of intolerant Islam across the world has caused a lot of problems. TBH right now the country disgusts me, it's got a long long way to go before it stops being a pariah to everyone but politicians.

[4TH 194] "Yet there is still no honest reckoning over what lies at the heart of the Saudi malaise."


[5TH 185] Like all great lies there is a little bit of truth behind it. After promoting Islamism, funding ISIS and other Islamist groups, the Saudi's suddenly realised Jihadis were coming home. They have been worried about this for a couple of years now....hence the change in tack. There is no change in their wahhabi ideology, they are just scared of domestic terrorists. [Guardian Cif] Read more

24 October 2017

MEND and Parliament – This is no way to help Muslims

I suppose the MPs on this list think they are helping Muslims by welcoming MEND to Parliament next week. (Click the images in this post to enlarge them.)

If this is what Joanna Cherry, Ed Davey, Stephen Kinnock, Caroline Lucas, Anna Soubry, and Wes Streeting think, they could not be more wrong.

The Muslims all of us should support – with room left aside for debate on specific issues, of course – are the liberals and the opponents of extremists.

Well, these very Muslims are the targets the Islamists of MEND have chosen for the most crude and vicious abuse for years and years on end.

.... One can also understand MEND by looking at the Muslims it likes. The speakers at its events and the people it promotes, for example.

It is a disturbing roster. It includes Anas al-Tikriti, Moazzam Begg, Lauren Booth, Malia Bouattia, Haitham al-Haddad, Omer El-Hamdoon, Dilowar Khan of the East London Mosque, Zahir Mahmood, Abu Eesa Niamatullah, Yasir Qadhi, Tariq Ramadan, and Yvonne Ridley.

This Must End

It is long, long past time for MPs to see MEND for what it is – a proudly intractable part of the problem and no component of any desirable solution.

If the Parliamentary event does go ahead, it will be interesting to see who does stand by the extremists. [Harry’s Place] Read more

Niqab will become bigger problem in years to come

The niqab conversation in Canada isn’t going away anytime soon. Don’t think that whatever happens with Quebec’s Bill 62, whether it lives or dies, is going to neatly solve the issue and put it to bed for good.

How could it, with the number of Muslims in Canada increasing and the extent of their religiosity showing no signs of abating?

The Quebec Liberal government’s bill banning face veils is somewhat rightly seen as a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. There aren’t all that many women walking about the streets of Montreal in full niqab and burka coverings. For now.

But according to Statistics Canada, the Muslim population is going to double in 20 years to make up 7.2% of the nation, clocking in at more than 2.5 million people.

Will this demographic become increasingly liberalized and integrated, less likely to cling to intolerant old country ways? Don’t count on it. [Toronto Sun] Read more

I will return Saudi Arabia to moderate Islam, says crown prince

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, has vowed to return the country to “moderate Islam” and asked for global support to transform the hardline kingdom into an open society that empowers citizens and lures investors.

In an interview with the Guardian, the powerful heir to the Saudi throne said the ultra-conservative state had been “not normal” for the past 30 years, blaming rigid doctrines that have governed society in a reaction to the Iranian revolution, which successive leaders “didn’t know how to deal with”.

.... “What happened in the last 30 years is not Saudi Arabia. What happened in the region in the last 30 years is not the Middle East. After the Iranian revolution in 1979, people wanted to copy this model in different countries, one of them is Saudi Arabia. We didn’t know how to deal with it. And the problem spread all over the world. Now is the time to get rid of it.”

Earlier Prince Mohammed had said: “We are simply reverting to what we followed – a moderate Islam open to the world and all religions. 70% of the Saudis are younger than 30, honestly we won’t waste 30 years of our life combating extremist thoughts, we will destroy them now and immediately.” [The Guardian] Read more

100,000 Brits sign up for polygamous dating site helping Muslim men find multiple wives

A website that helps Muslim men find “second wives” in Britain has more than 100,000 users registered, it has been revealed. The practice has been accused of opening women, often younger than their husbands, to physical abuse and even trafficking.

In the UK, polygamous marriages – in which a person has more than one spouse – are only recognized if they took place in countries where they are legal. British law, however, does not stop unregistered religious ceremonies from taking place.

Most Muslims in Britain do not practice polygamy, but some interpretations of the Quran say that a man may marry two, three, or four women, so long as he can deal justly and fairly with each of them.

SecondWife.com creator Azad Chaiwala says the website came from his “need” and “thinking there’ll be other people in my situation.” [RT NEWS] Read more

Muslim mother-of-five, 44, was ordered to leave sixth-form college open evening because she was wearing niqab face veil 'that stopped her being recognised on CCTV'

.... Sayeedah Mahetar, 44, was visiting the school with her teenage daughter who was hoping to study there next year.

The pair were welcomed into the entrance of the college but once inside Ms Mahetar was approached by a teacher who asked her to remove her veil or leave the college.

A spokesman for the school said it was part of their safeguarding policy not to allow anyone to wear garments which obstructed their face inside their grounds.

Ms Mahetar said: 'The staff member rushed over to me and whispered to me, 'Are you aware of our dress code policy?' 'I said no and then she said that anyone wearing a veil compromises the safety of students and teachers and that either I remove the veil or I leave.'

She told her daughter to continue the Open Day alone and that she would meet her outside the college premises.

[TOP RATED COMMENT 937 votes] Good for the college

[2ND 863] It should be banned in public in the UK everywhere. Can't wear a motorcycle helmet into a building because it obscures the face.

[3RD 852] Good for them! We can't have one rule for one lot and another for the rest of us - either ban all face coverings or legalise all, anything else is unfair treatment

[4TH 838] Well done St. Mary's; their right to do so. Do not backtrack and apologise please.

[5TH 816] Well done to the school. Its there policy so tough luck. She says she takes it off for work but couldn't take it off for a hour at college, whatever! It should be banned anyway

[6TH 743] Good for the college. We all have to stand firm against this. If you don't like it- leave.

[7TH 675] Removed it at work why not at College. [Daily Mail] Read more

23 October 2017

Mosque caretaker in Kasur held over blasphemy charges

.... Villagers staged a demonstration outside the Kanganpur police station following the arrest. They besieged the building and demanded police hand over the suspect to them after he reportedly burnt pages of the Holy Quran.

According to a police official, there are two madrassas in the area following the Ahle Sunnat and Deobandi doctrine of Islam.

“We are investigating the matter and holding meetings with elders and religious scholars of the area in a bid to find out what happened,” the official added.

The suspect, however, has denied the allegations. Police said they were investigating the matter further and would proceed as per the law. According to initial investigations, the caretaker did not commit blasphemy.

In September last year, a man with disabilities was arrested by police on blasphemy allegations, just two days after a teenager was accused in a similar case. The administration of Markazi Mosque of the Ahle Sunnat sect had accused the suspect of desecrating some pages of Holy Quran. [The Express Tribune] Read more

I produced My Week As a Muslim. Its intention was to educate, not offend

The idea for making the documentary My Week As a Muslim came to me after I spent almost a year in Birmingham, filming a series for Channel 4 called Extremely British Muslims in and around Birmingham Central Mosque.

Towards the end of our time there, the Brexit vote happened. Almost immediately, there was an English Defence League demonstration outside a mosque in Birmingham, and the number of attacks on Muslims spiked dramatically. We only managed to capture a small part of this, but in the coming weeks there were reports seemingly every day about hate crime, and articles on Britain’s diverse but divided communities – living parallel lives but not integrating.

I wanted the new show to bring to a wide audience the harsh realities of what was happening. We wanted to do something bold and experimental to achieve this. Often, when making documentaries, you feel you are preaching to the converted. I was determined to make something that would reach people who wouldn’t normally watch a programme about Muslims.

[TOP RATED COMMENT 471 votes] "We started filming the day before the Manchester bombing. After that happened, everyone was shaken and we questioned whether we should continue"

To be honest, whatever findings came out of the programme are rendered somewhat meaningless by what happened that night. I don't think the UK is an especially intolerant country, but I literally can think of nothing more likely to ferment intolerance than somebody blowing himself up at a kids concert in the name of a cause which aims to bring down the society he's chosen to live in.

Yes, we know it's not all Muslims. Yes, we know the vast majority of Muslims are ordinary people who don't want to commit acts of terrorism. By the same token, the vast majority of British people didn't yell abuse at Muslims the day after a jihadi attack which specifically targeted children and teenagers. So maybe give us a break?

[2ND 442] "fearful of women wearing the niqab."

She has every right to be offended by full face coverings.

It is a powerful symbol of the subjugation and inferior status of women.

It is also an insult to the men in our society.

[3RD 380] "Saima Alvi is a strong, independent woman" but "one of the first things we did was meet the imam from her local mosque and the chairman of the local British Muslim Heritage Centre".

Such a strong and independent woman that she needs the approval of the local Muslim patriarchy to take part in a reality TV show?

[4TH 314] Imagine if the millions of British Muslims were not Muslims but conservative Christians from deep South USA who had moved to the UK. Their backwards views would immediately be called out by liberals. But for some reason Islam gets a free pass from the left; misogyny ain't a problem when Muslims are doing it. [Guardian Cif] Read more

22 October 2017

Quebec justice minister defends new face-covering law, to release guidelines this week

Quebec's justice minister is expected to make public this week the guidelines for how Bill 62 will be applied as law, a document that wasn't supposed to be ready until next summer.

Stéphanie Vallée said it's necessary to do so because things have "escalated" in the past few days. She is appealling for calm and wants to "properly communicate and explain" the law to the population .

The bill was passed as law last week. It requires people to show their faces when they give or receive public services.

Vallée said she was surprised by Canadians' reactions since it was passed. Many have expressed staunch opposition, saying it's a thinly veiled target of Muslim women who wear niqabs, is discriminatory and could encourage harassment.

Despite that, Vallée defends the law championed by the provincial Liberal government, saying her government outlined its position on the matter long ago, and that the debate surrounding face coverings and religious garb has been going on in Quebec for the past decade. [CBC News] Read more

Trojan Horse plot: Ofsted chief Sir Michael Wilshaw given guards

The former chief inspector of schools had to be protected by two bodyguards after being “threatened and intimidated” during his investigation into the influence of Islamists on Birmingham schools.

Sir Michael Wilshaw said he needed “two heavies” accompanying him at taxpayers’ expense after Ofsted became concerned for his safety and that of his family.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, he told how he was screamed at in a public meeting, threatened on social media and accused of being an Islamophobe as he led an inquiry into whether schools in the city were coming under Islamist influence in the so-called Trojan Horse plot.

Wilshaw felt “really bitter” about his treatment, which he is making public for the first time. He said that “political correctness at the Department for Education [DfE]” had stopped — and was still stopping — ministers effectively intervening in failing or illegal schools, including Islamic schools. Even though more than 291 illegal schools have been identified and 38 warning letters issued by inspectors, no owners have yet been prosecuted. [The Times (£)] Read more